Joining the NetBeans Ruby Team
This document contains information on how you can participate in the development of the Ruby support in NetBeans.
Join the Ruby related mailing lists
In particular, you should read/partcipate in mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. You can either subscribe to the alias directly, access it through the forum-like Gmane and Nabble web sites, or access it using a newsreader. These are documented in the RubyFeedback document and the RubyCommunityInformation page.
First make sure that you have no objections to the license and copyright requirements for NetBeans contributions:
NetBeans is distributed under the CDDL license, an OSI-approved open source license. As of NetBeans 6, it is also dual licensed as GPL. Your contributions must also be licensed this way.
Joint Copyright Assignment
NetBeans contributors are required to sign a Joint Copyright Assignment agreement.
I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding is as follows: By assigning joint copyright, you retain copyright over the code you contribute, but you also give copyright to Sun, such that it is jointly held. This will allow Sun to relicense the code if necessary. Sun has done that in the past; it relicensed NetBeans from the "Sun Public License" to the more general "CDDL" open source license.
Again, I'm not a lawyer, and I'm not speaking for Sun, but given that both OpenOffice and Java itself is being licensed under GPL, it would not surprise me in the least if Sun were to approach the NetBeans board to relicense or dual-license NetBeans under GPL, and joint copyright assignment is what makes this possible. (Otherwise Sun would have to contact each and every past and current contributor and get each one of them to agree to the change).
You'll need a netbeans.org login. It's free and basically assigns a unique login name for you that is used for the issue tracker, as a CVS user name, and so on. Go to http://www.netbeans.org/servlets/Join to create a login.
If you get the user name foo you now have the e-mail address email@example.com.
Submitting Your Code
NetBeans is an open source project and operates on the same "trust" principle used in other projects.
In the beginning, submit your contributions as patches attached to issues in the bug tracking database. One of the developers will review the patches and discuss them with you, and apply the code to the codebase.
When you've been contributing this way for a while (such that the other project members know you and are comfortable with the quality of your code) you will be given commit privileges such that you can commit directly into the codebase yourself - and will be in a position to review other patches and so on to grow the development team.
The Development wiki page contains links to lots of other important documentation: New Committer's Guide, schedules and plans, etc.